COST TO INSTALL GARDEN DECKING
This is how much a garden decking installation costs in 2023
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Garden decking is a practical and, some say, more attractive alternative to patio slabs, concrete or shingle, but how much does it cost, and what work is involved with laying decking?
I used to work for a firm that installed garden decking before I moved on to a project management position where I oversaw large landscaping projects, so I’m confident I can provide you with a realistic price.
Explore my garden decking price guide, which I updated in 2023, get a handle on the pros and cons and use our recommended service to get a customised quotation online.
The cost of a new garden timber decking installation will depend on many factors, including the type and quality of the boards, and I know from experience that there’s a huge difference in quality out there with good quality timber boards costing several times that of lowest quality boards.
In 2023, I researched the current per sq metre price on a “supply-only” basis.
Softwood decking – this is often the cheapest type of board, but many good quality boards are also made from softwood. Softwood decking boards are the most popular option and I’ve been involved in dozens of installations where the finished product looked great.
Hardwood decking – taken from slow-growing trees, this type is far more expensive but from what I’ve seen, it lasts longer and in my opinion, the finished look is more appealing.
Composite decking – these are made from a mix of wood and synthetic materials such as plastic. While they don’t look as natural as timber, they require far less maintenance and are perfect for those who don’t want to re-seal their decking every few years.
|Item:||Supply-Only Price, inc Basic Frame:|
|Softwood Budget Boards||£30-40 per sq mtr|
|Softwood Mid-Range Boards||£50-60 per sq mtr|
|Hardwood Boards||£90-120 per sq mtr|
|Composite Boards||£100-130 per sq mtr|
The prices above include the supply of the decking, materials for a low-level timber base and all fixings – to ensure accuracy, I sourced prices from online and local suppliers and then calculated an average figure.
The prices exclude staining, oiling, waste disposal and labour.
Typical Price for a Garden Decking Installation
Below is my price guide for the installation of garden decking, including all the materials, labour, VAT, waste disposal and anything else required to complete the installation.
These figures are based on my industry knowledge, experience and independent in-depth research:
|Item:||Supply and Install Price:|
|Softwood Budget Boards on a Basic Frame||£100-150 per sq mtr|
|Softwood Budget Boards on an Elevated Frame||£130-180 per sq mtr|
|Softwood Mid-Range Boards on a Basic Frame||£150-200 per sq mtr|
|Softwood Mid-Range Boards on an Elevated Frame||£180-230 per sq mtr|
|Hardwood Boards on a Basic Frame||£230-280 per sq mtr|
|Hardwood Boards on an Elevated Frame||£250-300 per sq mtr|
|Composite Boards on a Basic Frame||£275-325 per sq mtr|
|Composite Boards on an Elevated Frame||£300-350 per sq mtr|
The prices above are for typical installations, and from experience, I know that large projects usually cost less per square metre due to the economics of scale.
Conversely, very small decking projects often cost more per square metre.
I’ve included the following in the prices above:
- Supply and install the decking.
- All materials.
- Construction of a timber base.
- Waste disposal.
The prices exclude:
- Complex steps/stairs.
- Painting, staining or oiling – I’ve always done this after the timber has dried, which can take a month or two.
The prices above are based on prices supplied to me by a selection of garden decking installers in the UK.
There will always be firms with larger overheads that charge more per square metre and smaller businesses or even one-man tradespeople that can charge less.
Our prices are merely averages of the figures provided to me for a specific project.
What an Expert Told Us:
David Appleby from Distinct Landscaping told us:
There are good quality softwood decking boards and also plenty of bad quality ones out there. The same applies to hardwood boards and composite decking too. It’s not necessarily the choice of board type that determines whether the finished project is good or bad but how the decking is designed, supported and installed. A good quality installer should be able to recommend a product that fits the customers budget and suits their requirements, whilst looking stunning.
My Final Verdict
According to my research and industry knowledge, garden decking currently costs from £100 per sq metre for a basic small project using softwood boards on a shallow, basic frame.
You can expect prices to rise up to £350 per sq metre for very good quality hardwood or top-tier composite boards built on elevated frames or for a more complex design.
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Garden Decking Q&A
When Were These Prices Sourced?
I sourced these prices in 2023 and updated this page to replace the previous research I did in 2020.
Which Companies Supplied You With Decking Prices?
I sourced prices from a wide variety of firms, including companies and one-person traders and online sellers. To ensure accuracy, I also sourced prices from various locations around the UK.
The prices in this guide are an average of the figures provided to me.
What is Your Experience?
Daniel, our lead consultant here at DIY Gardening, has over 18 years of experience in home improvement and landscaping projects and has installed decking himself and also project-managed teams of installers.
The prices displayed on this page are based on his independent research into what other firms are charging rather than just his opinion.
Part of his role as a project manager was to source estimates from tradespeople and businesses for gardening projects.
How Long Does Decking Last?
Timber decking can last for decades if installed correctly, but it does require occasional treatments with oil or a preservative stain.
As a general rule of thumb, I’ve found that hardwood timber is more durable and less susceptible to rot than softwood.
I’ve seen a few softwood decking installation fail, but this usually happens when the installer has allowed water to pool on the decking surface rather than running off of it.
Explore our guide to the key differences between softwood and hardwood.
How Can I Stop Mould Growing on Decking?
I’ve seen algae, mould and even moss grow on decking boards and the cheap grooved boards seem to be the ones worst affected. I’ve had good results by treating the boards once per year with a fungicide such as benzalkonium chloride. I recommend this product.
Also, I feel that moss, mould and algae are more likely to form if rainwater is allowed to pool on the surface or in the grooves of the decking, hence why I’ve always installed the boards on a slight slope so water runs off.
How Do I Stop Decking From Being So Slippery?
A good installer will ensure there’s a slight slope to the installation, so rainwater doesn’t pool in any grooves. Also, every installer I’ve worked with has laid the boards perpendicular to the direction of foot traffic, so there’s more grip. From my experience, I know that a yearly wash with a fungicide or a light power clean will remove any algae or mould that could cause a slip.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Decking?
- Arguably is more attractive than patio slabs.
- Easier to install.
- A more natural look that blends in well with a garden.
- Great for elevated areas as it can be raised on posts.
- Higher maintenance as it needs regular cleaning and protective stains, especially if experiencing lots of foot traffic.
- Not as strong as slabs or concrete and is more likely to suffer scratches and minor damage from day-to-day use.
- It can be slippery when wet, especially if using a ladder on it, for example.
- Not very eco-friendly.
How Long Does it Take to Install Decking?
From the projects I’ve been involved in, I think a simple deck 6.5m long by 2.5m wide can be installed in around a day while a more complicated project with handrails, steps, elevated sections and curved edges will take longer, between 2 and 3 days depending on how many tradespeople are working on the project.
Are There Any Trade Associations Where I Can Find Reputable Installers?
What Type of Company Installs Garden Decking?
I’ve worked with three types of installers over the years:
- Specialist installers that fit decking and only decking.
- Cladding firms also install decking.
- Landscape gardeners.
I’ve found that prices vary, but from my experience, I’ve found that landscape gardeners tend to be a bit cheaper than specialist installers.
Do I Need Planning Permission?
Decking installations are covered by permitted developments rules and you can construct a garden deck provided that:
- It’s no higher than 30cm above the ground.
- It covers no more than 50% of the garden (the 50% also includes extensions).
The rules regarding decking in National Parks, World Heritage Sites or Areas of Outstanding Beauty are different.
Also, the rules for dwellings that are flats or maisonettes are different.
Explore the government’s guide to decking planning permission here.
Do Building Regulations Apply to Decking Installations?
If the deck is no more than 30cm above the ground and covers (along with any extensions) no more than 50% of the garden and meets all other requirements of Permitted Developments then you do not need to worry about the Building Regulations.
However, if the deck is elevated and/or has stairs, then Building Regulations will apply.
The regulations focus on:
- Strength of the deck.
- Spacing and height of the handrails.
- The stairs.
- The ground structure/base.
When Should Decking Be Oiled or Stained?
I’ve seen installations where the installers sealed the timber when it was still moist, and this caused problems down the line.
I’ve always waited at least a month and often longer, before staining or applying an oil finish, as this gives the timber time to dry out.
Author: Daniel Woodley
In his spare time, Daniel enjoys gardening, hiking and scrambling. He frequently posts videos to his popular YouTube Channel and is well known in the hiking community.
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